The Nome Static
The Monthly Newsletter of the KNOM Radio Mission

July 2011

Transmission 555

Young Tom Busch in studioLeah smilingMooseMatty with e-trashVelma BrownEnid and Robert Lincoln

Dear Friend of KNOM,

Thank you from everyone in Western Alaska! This month, KNOM turns 40: a milestone we've reached through your incredible generosity and prayers. As we've done since 1971, our radio mission continues to serve thousands of families spread out over 100,000 square miles of the Alaskan bush. Every hour, your support is making a difference in so many lives.

KNOM's 40th birthday celebration will include listeners, staff and many past volunteers, coming together in Nome the week of July 14th. We will bring you pictures and stories of our 40th anniversary in future newsletters, and you'll find even more right here, at

July will be a time to cut the birthday cake but, also, to keep busy. As you'll see in this month's issue, our brief Arctic summer will be filled with wildlife reports, broadcasts of village news, and lots more: all thanks to you.


A Special Birthday
Bishop pushes on buttonOld KNOM studios on streetYoung Tom Busch in studio

July 2011 marks 40 years of KNOM's broadcasts to Western Alaska. It all began on July 14th, 1971, when Bishop Robert Whelan, SJ pushed the "on" button for KNOM's very first program (photo at top left). Since then, we've broadcast local news, popular music, Alaska Native culture, and thousands of inspirational spots: all thanks to your support.

As we look to the next four decades, we remember where we've been: from our original studios and volunteer dormitories (middle photo; click the thumbnail to see a full-sized panorama) to the people who devoted their lives to this mission. We remember, in a special way, our friend and founder Tom Busch (photo bottom left), who literally laid the foundations for our radio mission and then led it, through good days and bad, for most of its first four decades.

At a special ceremony in Nome this month, we'll honor the contributions of all who've given to KNOM - whether of their time, their talent, or their treasure - and we'll break ground on the construction of a new expansion to KNOM's studios. It'll be a time to celebrate and to give thanks. Learn more about our 40th birthday.

inspirational spot

Lord, I discover every day, more and more, how impossible it is for me to live without You.

Off to New Horizons
Leah smiling

It's a bittersweet goodbye as we bid farewell to volunteer Leah Radde, who departs this month after two years of outstanding service.

Originally from Minnesota, Leah has served as KNOM's Music Director since 2009. She's brought boundless creativity and energy to her job, overseeing KNOM's music programming and producing dozens of shows on a wide variety of artists, albums, and musical genres. In her second year, Leah also tackled KNOM's Morning Show and has built a rapport with thousands of listeners in our region.

For many in Western Alaska, KNOM is their primary (or only) source of music. For two years, Leah has maintained our music programming to the highest standard. We know you'll join us in wishing her all the best.

inspirational spot

God promises us a safe landing, not smooth sailing.

Wild Sightings
Mother moose and her calvesMuskox on the road

We're into the thick of our (short) sub-Arctic summer. Among many other things, summer can mean more encounters with wild animals, whether intentional or unplanned.

While on a drive outside Nome to look for seals (along the coast of Norton Sound), some of our current volunteers recently caught sight of a moose giving birth to two calves. Volunteer Leah Radde (photo and article above) snapped the photo at top left of the mother and her newborns. Just days later, KNOM staffer David Dodman took a photo (bottom left) of a small herd of muskox at the top of a mountain outside Nome. (As you'll notice, David took the picture from the safety of the car!)

Being watchful for wildlife is vital to the traditional lifestyles of our listeners. For Western Alaskans, wild animals aren't just fodder for photography; they're also sources of food and, on occasion, potential dangers. Throughout the summer, KNOM does its part to keep Western Alaska informed. For the next few months, we'll broadcast daily fishing and hunting updates from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and, when needed, advisories on any wildlife sighted near homes or villages.

A Fresh Coat of White(board)
Ben paintsPouring paint

As we go to press, a unique type of paint is drying on the south wall of the KNOM newsroom. It will take a week to fully dry, but when it does, the painted areas will serve as a whiteboard, a blank canvas for dry-erase markers.

Best of all, the whiteboard paint didn't cost a dime. Our news team actually won this special paint in a recent photography contest sponsored by the paint's manufacturer, IdeaPaint. KNOM newsies Laureli Kinneen, Matthew Smith, and Ben Matheson then took turns applying this special paint to their workspace (see photos of Ben at left).

The whiteboard will give our news department a new way to share and organize their latest news tips, stories, leads, and interviews. Since our news reporting covers a massive portion of Alaska, this is no small task.

In the past month alone, KNOM news reporters have covered stories ranging from smoking and public health to oil drilling, gold mining, and lots more. Whether with pen and paper or dry-erase marker, they're able to do it because of your generosity. Thank you!

inspirational spot

When troubles drop you to your knees, remember: that's the perfect position to begin praying.

Out With the Old
Matty with e-trash

Recently, KNOM was proud to take advantage of a unique opportunity in Nome: the chance to recycle "e-waste." "E-waste" refers to old computers or appliances that, because of their complex parts or chemicals, can't simply be thrown away.

Resources for recycling in Western Alaska are scant at best, so when Nome hosted a collection of electronic waste (to be barged to Seattle for processing), KNOM's staff - including Matty Guiffre, photo above - happily pitched in to dispose of our unusable electronics. We encouraged our Nome listeners to do the same.

inspirational spot

Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process – gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures – and no matter how undramatic that pursuit of peace may be, it must go on.

A Visit to White Mountain
The village of White MountainVelma BrownEnid Lincoln and Robert Lincoln, Sr.

Reaching out to villages of Western Alaska - some of the most remote but fascinating places on Earth - is the core of KNOM's mission. We exist because they do. In order to keep tabs on the people and events of these villages, we sometimes visit them in person: usually for free, thanks to a partnership with a regional air carrier.

Recently, volunteer Matthew Smith traveled to the village of White Mountain (seen top left) to capture material for KNOM's long-form news programs Profiles and Elder Voices. Here's Matt in his own words:

Whenever I leave Nome for one of Western Alaska's villages, I make sure I get as much as I can out of the trip: I interview an elder for a future Elder Voices and plan to pursue at least one news story. In White Mountain, for example, I talked with Shala Dobson, a traveling artist who was spending two weeks in residency in the White Mountain school. She held classes for students and worked with the staff to integrate art into other areas of the curriculum. Her stay culminated in an exhibition of student artwork, attended by parents and many members of the community.

I was also lucky enough to find three elders in White Mountain who were willing to share their life stories. I spoke with Velma Brown (photo middle left), who had moved around the state, amid struggles with alcohol and addiction, before returning to White Mountain to raise her children and grandchildren. I also spoke with Rosemary Lincoln, who spent her entire life in the village, leaving only with her children when they were especially ill.

Finally, I met with Enid Lincoln (photo bottom left, pictured with husband Robert Lincoln, Sr.). Mrs. Lincoln's schooling (and the Bureau of Indian Affairs) brought her to Dallas, Texas, after which she returned to White Mountain to raise a family and work as a bilingual teacher's aide.

Meeting these elders, being welcomed into their homes, hearing their life story, and then sharing that story with our listeners is a truly privileged aspect of my work with KNOM.

We encourage you to listen to Matt's stories on Shala Dobson and Enid Lincoln; you'll find even more on the news section of our website. Whether on the air, on the web, or in person, we're able to tell the stories of Western Alaska thanks to you.

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